30-year fixed rates continue to rise

Friday, February 4, 2011; 10:31 AM

Mortgage rates for 30-year loans rose for a third week, keeping borrowing costs at the highest level in more than a month.

The average rate for 30-year fixed loans climbed to 4.81 percent this week from 4.80 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate was 4.08 percent, down from 4.09 percent last week, the mortgage finance company said.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.69 percent from 3.70 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans was unchanged at 3.26 percent.

Rising rates may slow a fledgling rebound in home sales as unemployment nationally hovers above 9 percent. Pending home sales climbed 2 percent in December, the third straight monthly increase, the National Association of Realtors said Jan. 27. Buyers have been rushing to lock in low borrowing costs after the 30-year rate reached a record low 4.17 percent in November.

Loan applications climbed 11 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's index. The gauge dropped 13 percent in the previous week to the lowest since November 2008.

Spending on new-home construction dropped 4.1 percent in December, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Freddie Mac's rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year and 15-year loan in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.8 point. The average fee for the five-year ARM was 0.7 point, and the fee for the 1-year ARM was 0.6 point.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

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